Brands’ relationships with their customers have changed massively in the past 10 years. The days of broadcasting messages to a passive audience are gone. Customers now expect you to offer more and be ready to engage them at a click of a button. They want you to make them laugh, cheer them on and even share their beliefs or opinions.
The challenge this represents for marketing teams likes yours is considerable. You don’t just need to be relevant and engaging, you need to be all those things ‘now’. And, you’re certainly not alone in trying to deliver relevant and humanised content to your audiences.
In this article, we’ll examine how, looking at the key signals of change from the future, high-performance marketers are raising their game to lead in this space.
Covid-19 has meant that people are now valuing all their relationships as never before. But conversely, they will also not tolerate any time-wasting as they juggle their busy home and work lives. So many marketers are strengthening their relationships with customers by demonstrating genuine empathy. And they’re using what they learn from their data to connect customers to products and services that solve their problems. For example, TV streaming companies have created virtual party rooms so you won’t miss out on watching your favourite series with your friends.
Getting to that level of empathy is not always easy, but more and more marketers are using AI tools to help them truly understand what makes their customers tick. While this technology is also helping their team collaborate better too. All this together helps high-performing marketers to communicate the right message at the right time. The increasing use of chatbots to fill the gap for stretched customer service teams is one example of using AI to maintain an always-on empathetic relationship.
Another consequence of living in a world of ‘everything now’ is being able to move at the speed of your customer’s changing tastes and demands. This has previously been most pronounced in the physical world with the prominence of fast fashion. But the era of fast advertising has now arrived and we're beginning to see the possibilities for large-scale, coordinated campaigns that create social-like, timely relevance across channels. AI, machine learning, and real-time insights will be critical capabilities to delivering content that is more responsive.
On top of this, it looks like the prominent role played by influencers to drive trust and credibility for your brand will continue – particularly with younger more skeptical audiences who are growing up in the environment of fake news.
Finally, with everyone stuck indoors and online shopping exploding – there’s also an opportunity to deliver some marketing kerbside. Delivery vans are being greeted with high levels of excitement - so it’s a great way to leverage this positive customer experience with material containing discounts and offers. Or you can even bring your retail store to where your audience lives via a mobile pop-up store so customers can buy or trial things like beauty products in a safe, outdoors and socially distanced environment.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also been a wake-up call for the concept of consumerism and what’s really important to both brands and consumers. Younger customers increasingly want to know what your brand stands for and, as the increase in cancel culture shows, will actively encourage boycotting a brand if they don’t like what it’s communicating.
So, a lot of marketers are now designing their messaging for the bigger picture is key to building a more meaningful relationship with your customer - whether it’s reserving time-slots for the elderly at supermarkets or switching their alcohol production lines to manufacture hand sanitiser.
We’re even seeing new innovative and customer-centric approaches in what has traditionally been one of the poorest-performing sectors. And we expect governments will increasingly compete to offer data-driven, consumer-like digital experiences to their citizens.
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